"Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists.
Herein Lies the peace of God."
A Course in Miracles

The Dream and the Reality

VII. Dreams and the Body

49 There is nothing outside you. That is what you must ultimately learn, for it is in that realization that the Kingdom of Heaven is restored to you. For God created only this, and He did not depart from it nor leave it separate from Himself. The Kingdom of Heaven is the dwelling-place of the Son of God, who left not his Father and dwells not apart from Him. Heaven is not a place nor a condition. It is merely an awareness of perfect Oneness and the knowledge that there is nothing else; nothing outside this Oneness and nothing else within.

50 What could God give but knowledge of Himself? What else is there to give? The belief that you could give and get something else, something outside yourself, has cost you the awareness of Heaven and the loss of your Identity. And you have done a stranger thing than you yet realize. You have displaced your guilt to your bodies from your minds. Yet a body cannot be guilty, for it can do nothing of itself. You who think you hate your bodies deceive yourselves. You hate your minds , for guilt has entered into them, and they would remain separate, which they cannot do.

51 Minds are joined; bodies are not. Only by assigning to the mind the properties of the body does separation seem to be possible. And it is mind that seems to be fragmented and private and alone. Its guilt, which keeps it separate, is projected to the body, which suffers and dies because it is attacked, to hold the separation in the mind and let it not know its identity. Mind cannot attack, but it can make fantasies and direct the body to act them out. Yet it is never what the body does that seems to satisfy. Unless the mind believes the body is actually acting out its fantasies, it will attack the body by increasing the projection of its guilt upon it.

52 In this, the mind is clearly delusional. It cannot attack, but it maintains it can and uses what it does to hurt the body to prove it can. The mind cannot attack, but it can deceive itself. And this is all it does when it believes it has attacked the body. It can project its guilt, but it will not lose it through projection. And though it clearly can misperceive the function of the body, it cannot change its function from what the Holy Spirit establishes it to be. The body was not made by love. Yet love does not condemn it and can use it lovingly, respecting what the Son of God has made and using it to save him from illusions.

53 Would you not have the instruments of separation reinterpreted as means for salvation and used for purposes of love? Would you not welcome and support the shift from fantasies of vengeance to release from them? Your perception of the body can clearly be sick, but project not this upon the body. For your wish to make destructive what cannot destroy can have no real effect at all. And what God created is only what He would have it be, being His Will. You cannot make His Will destructive. You can make fantasies in which your will conflicts with His, but that is all.

54 It is insane to use the body as the scapegoat for guilt, directing its attack and blaming it for what you wished it to do. It is impossible to act out fantasies. For it is still the fantasies you want, and they have nothing to do with what the body does. It does not dream of them, and they but make it a liability where it could be an asset. For fantasies have made your body your "enemy," weak, vulnerable, and treacherous, worthy of the hate which you invest in it. How has this served you? You have identified with this thing you hate, the instrument of vengeance and the perceived source of your guilt. You have done this to a thing that has no meaning, proclaiming it to be the dwelling-place of the Son of God and turning it against him.

55 This is the host of God that you have made. And neither God nor His most holy Son can enter an abode which harbors hate and where you have sown the seeds of vengeance, violence, and death. This thing you made to serve your guilt stands between you and other minds. The minds are joined, but you do not identify with them. You see yourself locked in a separate prison, removed and unreachable, incapable of reaching out as being reached. You hate this prison you have made and would destroy it. But you would not escape from it, leaving it unharmed, without your guilt upon it.

56 Yet only thus can you escape. The home of vengeance is not yours; the place you set aside to house your hate is not a prison but an illusion of yourself. The body is a limit imposed on the universal communication which is an eternal property of mind. But the communication is internal. [It is not made up of different parts which reach each other.] Mind reaches to itself . It does not go out . Within itself it has no limits, and there is nothing outside it. [It encompasses everything .] It encompasses you entirely; you within it, and it within you. There is nothing else, anywhere or ever.

57 The body is outside you, and but seems to surround you, shutting you off from others and keeping you apart from them [and them from you]. It is not there. There is no barrier between God and His Son, nor can His Son be separated from himself except in illusions. This is not his reality, though he believes it is. Yet this could only be if God were wrong. God would have had to create differently and to have separated Himself from His Son to make this possible. He would have had to create different things and to establish different orders of reality, only some of which were love. Yet love must be forever like itself, changeless forever and forever without alternative. And so it is. You cannot put a barrier around yourself because God placed none between Himself and you.

58 You can stretch out your hand and reach to Heaven. You whose hands are joined have begun to reach beyond the body, but not outside yourselves, to reach your shared Identity together. Could this be outside you? Where God is not ? Is He a body, and did He create you as He is not and where He cannot be? You are surrounded only by Him . What limit can there be on you whom He encompasses? Everyone has experienced what he would call a sense of being transported beyond himself. This feeling of liberation far exceeds the dream of freedom sometimes experienced in special relationships. It is a sense of actual escape from limitations.

59 If you will consider what this "transportation" really entails, you will realize that it is a sudden unawareness of the body and a joining of yourself and something else in which your mind enlarges to encompass it. It becomes part of you as you unite with it. And both become whole as neither is perceived as separate. What really happens is that you have given up the illusion of a limited awareness and lost your fear of union. The love that instantly replaces it extends to what has freed you and unites with it. And while this lasts, you are not uncertain of your Identity and would not limit it. You have escaped from fear to peace, asking no questions of reality but merely accepting it. You have accepted this instead of the body and have let yourself be one with something beyond it simply by not letting your mind be limited by it.

60 This can occur regardless of the physical distance which seems to be between you and what you join, of your respective positions in space, and of your differences in size and seeming quality. Time is not relevant; it can occur with something past, present, or anticipated. The "something" can be anything and anywhere—a sound, a sight, a thought, a memory, and even a general idea without specific reference. Yet in every case, you joined it without reservation because you love it and would be with it. And so you rush to meet it, letting your limits melt away, suspending all the "laws" your body obeys and gently setting them aside.

61 There is no violence at all in this escape. The body is not attacked, but simply properly perceived. It does not limit you merely because you would not have it so. You are not really "lifted out" of it; it cannot contain you. You go where you would be, gaining, not losing, a sense of self. In these instants of release from physical restrictions, you experience much of what happens in the holy instant; the lifting of the barriers of time and space, the sudden experience of peace and joy, and, above all, the lack of awareness of the body and of the questioning whether or not all this is possible.

62 It is possible because you want it. The sudden expansion of the self which takes place with your desire for it is the irresistible appeal the holy instant holds. It calls to you to be yourself within its safe embrace. There are the laws of limit lifted for you, to welcome you to openness of mind and freedom. Come to this place of refuge, where you can be yourself in peace. Not through destruction, not through a "breaking out," but merely by a quiet "melting in." For peace will join you there simply because you have been willing to let go the limits you have placed upon love and joined it where it is and where it led you in answer to its gentle call to be at peace.

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A Course in Miracles

Part I
Review VI

1 For this review, we take but one idea each day and practice it as often as is possible. Besides the time you give morning and evening, which should not be less than 15 minutes, and the hourly remembrances you make throughout the day, use the idea as often as you can between them. Each of these ideas alone would be sufficient for salvation, if it were learned truly. Each would be enough to give release to you and to the world from every form of bondage and invite the memory of God to come again.

2 With this in mind, we start our practicing in which we carefully review the thoughts the Holy Spirit has bestowed on us in our last 20 lessons. Each contains the whole curriculum if understood, practiced, accepted, and applied to all the seeming happenings throughout the day. One is enough. But for that one, there must be no exceptions made. And so we need to use them all and let them blend as one, as each contributes to the whole we learn.

3 These practice sessions, like our last review, are centered round a central theme with which we start and end each lesson. It is this:

4 I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.

5 The day begins and ends with this. And we repeat it every time the hour strikes or we remember in between we have a function that transcends the world we see. Beyond this and a repetition of the special thought we practice for the day, no form of exercise is urged except a deep relinquishment of everything that clutters up the mind and makes it deaf to reason, sanity, and simple truth.

6 We will attempt to get beyond all words and special forms of practicing for this review. For we attempt this time to reach a quickened pace along a shorter path to the serenity and peace of God. We merely close our eyes and then forget all that we thought we knew and understood. For thus is freedom given us from all we did not know and failed to understand.

7 There is but one exception to this lack of structuring. Permit no idle thought to go unchallenged. If you notice one, deny its hold and hasten to assure your mind that this is not what it would have. Then gently let the thought which you denied be given up in sure and quick exchange for the idea you practice for the day.

8 When you are tempted, hasten to proclaim your freedom from temptation as you say:

9 This thought I do not want. I choose instead….

10 And then repeat the idea for the day, and let it take the place of what you thought. Beyond such special applications of each day's idea, we will add but a few formal expressions or specific thoughts to aid your practicing. Instead we give these times of quiet to the Teacher Who instructs in quiet, speaks of peace, and gives our thoughts whatever meaning they may have.

11 To Him I offer this review for you. I place you in His charge and let Him teach you what to do and say and think each time you turn to Him. He will not fail to be available to you each time you call to Him to help you. Let us offer Him the whole review we now begin, and let us also not forget to Whom it has been given as we practice day by day, advancing toward the goal He set for us, allowing Him to teach us how to go, and trusting Him completely for the way each practice period can best become a loving gift of freedom to the world.

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A Course in Miracles

Lesson 205
I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.

[185] I want the peace of God.

1 The peace of God is everything I want. The peace of God is my one goal; the aim of all my living here, the end I seek, my purpose and my function and my life while I abide where I am not at home.

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ACIM Edmonton
Sarah's Reflections

Lesson 205 Review VI
[185] I want the peace of God.

I am not a body. I am free. For I am still as God created me.

There are many things we still think we want in this world, but what we truly want, behind all these things, is joy, peace, and love; and these can only come from our connection with the Self we are. All the drama in our lives, and the image we try to create of ourselves, hides the truth of our reality from awareness. The ego has tried to convince us that we can find peace and joy in what it offers us, including its most boasted gift---the special relationship. And we have fallen for its offerings, pursuing all the things we think we need in order to be happy. Yet it is precisely the distractions of the ego that keep us from the happiness we seek. When we realize this, we may become disillusioned about our lives and our effort to find peace and joy in the world. Ultimately, this is a good thing, even though it does not feel that way to us. Most of us get started on the spiritual path when we become disillusioned and our strategies for trying to find happiness no longer work.
No matter how hard I tried to fix my life, I kept coming to the same dead end. I realized that there were no more answers available for me in all the things I had tried. In spite of worldly success, I felt empty and alone. It was at this low point in my life, I found the Course. Put more accurately, the Course found me, and I was ready for it. Until I got on this path, I had no idea that what I was looking for was already in me. It is a path devoted to removing the blocks to the awareness of our magnificent Self. The peace, love, and joy we keep seeking in the world are already in us. It is our inheritance blocked by the conditioning of the world that we have bought into. Everything we have learned must now be unlearned.
Although disillusionment brings disruption and conflict, it is, nevertheless, a motivator that takes us on a search for a better way. Precisely when everything seems to be going wrong in our world, the invitation is there to go in a new direction. When we become motivated to give up our way, which no longer works for us, we are ready to open to another way. Thus, we allow the shifts that come with a new direction. Instead of lamenting our condition, this is a time for faith and trust. Without the disillusionment and the disruptions in our lives, we would not necessarily seek the truth. It is not unlike what we are told in Chapter 17 (T.17.V.3) (ACIM OE T.17.VI.45) about the disruption that happens when a special relationship is given over for healing so it can become holy. The goal for the relationship is changed quickly and thus the relationship can seem very disjointed. When we make a decision to heal a special relationship, the purpose for it is changed and there can be a major disruption. Now the ego may counsel that we should leave the relationship. Yet the only real solution is to align the relationship with the new goal. Faith then takes us through the distress we encounter along the way, and the less we resist, the easier it gets.
The transition is generally experienced as difficult because there seems to be none of the familiarity of our old ego programming and nothing to hang onto that we previously understood. When this happened to me, I kept reminding myself to see it as a blessing and allow the process to unfold as I leaned on Jesus, rather than my own understanding. It was a time of deep trust. This helped me to stay committed to the promised transformation from specialness to holiness in the relationship.
Jesus tells us that the temptation is to find a new relationship to suit the old goal of specialness. Yet he says that there is no point in making another substitution and repeating the patterns of the past. Jesus simply asks that we have faith and trust during what can be a difficult transition. It is a time to focus on the goal set for us. It is a process and will seem to take time, yet he assures us that infinite patience produces immediate results. In other words, I put my faith and certainty on the goal set for my relationship for a positive outcome.
While impatience arose in me during this time in the relationship, and I reverted at times to manipulation and attempts to control the situation, it was clear to me that these strategies had not worked in the past and would not work now. Dr. Wayne Dyer uses the analogy of a tomato seed and says that if the shoot is pulled out too early, before it is finished growing, it will never manifest as a healthy tomato plant with ripe tomatoes. In other words, we try to push this process along. For me, after the goal of the relationship was shifted, it took another two years before there was evidence of miracles reflected in a much-changed relationship where strife was replaced by peace. Clearly, it was not done by me.
The peace of God will never come through the counsel of the ego. The voice of the ego is insistent and obsessive, offering us advice on how to solve our problems in our own way. Turning to the ego for advice on what to do results in confusion, as there is no certainty with the ego. To follow the ego's counsel is never about solving problems, but actually about keeping them. Problems are only solved through the release of guilt. Guilt is the source of every problem we seem to have. The way to peace is offered us in the Workbook, where day by day we can turn to the Holy Spirit to give us a new interpretation of every situation we encounter. Yes, there will be resistance because this path means change and it is not always comfortable. Fear will come up, and we may be tempted to return to the ego's counsel. That is why every step we take on this path is so firmly reinforced.
It seems that everyone talks about wanting peace and yet the world was made to keep peace out. The search for peace in the world always seems to be about fighting for it. In fact, conflict generally becomes the way so often chosen to resolve difficult situations in the belief that war will bring peace. Peace will not come by changing external circumstances. We will only know peace when we experience it internally. That is why it is so important to set our goal in advance and take the time each day to be still. We can practice these Lessons every time we are tempted to give up our peace. When someone seems to be attacking, we can remember to see it as a call for love. It is an opportunity to bless them, instead of attacking and defending. Each time we are able to respond from love, we will experience for ourselves the blessings we give. Each time we respond to the temptation to become angry and distressed, we will experience more guilt. When we join in love and gratitude with our brother, we see him as our savior who offers us many opportunities to bless instead of curse. Our "enemies" really are the teachers of peace. They bring forth our unhealed issues so they can be seen and acknowledged and then let go of, with the help of the Holy Spirit. Now the peace in us can shine forth and bless the world.
Today, we walk in faith, trust, and certainty that everything is perfect for our healing and awakening. The Holy Spirit will guide our way and lead us to the peace of God. With readiness, willingness, and a passion for knowing the truth, we can make great strides today. Teachers of peace are in our lives right now. They are our saviors.
Remember today, "The peace of God is everything I want. The peace of God is my one goal; the aim of all my living here, the end I seek, my purpose and my function and my life, while I abide where I am not at home." (W.205.1.2) We are not at home. We all feel like aliens here; although for some, this reality may be pushed further from awareness than for others. I know I often go about distracted with my life in this world and I don't think much about the fact that this is not meant to be my home. Some time ago, I was at a function with Latvian athletes who were here for the Masters Games. I had to work to try to bring back some of my Latvian speaking skills and was doing fine, meeting people from my birth country, until the singing started. Much to my surprise, the tears started to flow unabated. I was helpless, unable to stop this flow of tears. We went to the car, as I was completely losing control of my emotions, and as I sat and cried and cried I realized I was not crying for my birth country but for that insistent call for my home in God. This experience was similar to the emotions that came up for me years ago when I saw the movie, "Trip to Bountiful," also about the pull to go home. The movie ends with the song, "Softly and Gently Jesus is Calling," calling us all to come home.
In Lesson 182, Jesus speaks to us very poignantly about this pull to go home. "Perhaps you think it is your childhood home that you would find again." (W.182.4.1) "It is this child in you your Father knows as His Own Son." (W.182.5.1) "He desires to go home so deeply, so unceasingly, His voice cries unto you to let Him rest a while." (W.182.5.3) He reminds us over and over that our home is not here. We think that here is the only home we think we know, as Lesson 166 reminds us. "He does not realize that it is here he is afraid indeed, and homeless, too; an outcast wandering so far from home, so long away, he does not realize he has forgotten where he came from, where he goes, and even who he really is." (W.166.4.4) "This world you seem to live in is not home to you." (W.182.1.1) "A memory of home keeps haunting you, as if there were a place that called you to return, although you do not recognize the voice, nor what it is the voice reminds you of." (W.182.1.3)
Lesson 200 invites us simply to "come home," but what does this mean in the context of today's Lesson? It means that we can only come home when we connect to the peace of God and ultimately remember who we are. It calls to us from deep within. It is only here, within the quiet of the mind, that we can experience the feeling of home and connect to the deep peace within. Searching for anything else is a futile search. There is no happiness in the world. There is no real contentment here. There is no home that can shelter us anywhere in this world. "You who are part of God are not at home except in His peace. If peace is eternal, you are at home only in eternity." (T.5.III.10.7-8) (ACIM OE T.5.V.42) In Chapter 19, (T.19.IV.A.2.1) (ACIM OE T.19.V.a.40) Jesus asks us, why we would want peace homeless; and homeless it is until we realize, "Those who offer peace to everyone have found a home in Heaven the world cannot destroy." (T.25.IV.4.9) (ACIM OE T.25.V.35)
This Lesson is clear in reminding us that the body is not our home. In Chapter 4, Jesus says, "The ego has built a shabby and unsheltering home for you, because it cannot build otherwise. Do not try to make this impoverished house stand. Its weakness is your strength. Only God could make a home that is worthy of His creations, who have chosen to leave it empty by their own dispossession. Yet His home will stand forever, and is ready for you when you choose to enter it." (T.4.I.11.1-5) (ACIM OE T.4.II.18) And we are told in Chapter 20, "Your home has called to you since time began, nor have you ever failed entirely to hear." (T.20.II.8.5) (ACIM OE T.20. III.12)
Only in God can we find peace. Nothing in this world will ever content us, but while we seem to be here, Holy Spirit can use everything in this world that the ego has made as a classroom for our awakening. Powerful healing can take place through our relationships when we turn them over to the Holy Spirit for His guidance.

Love and blessings, Sarah


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